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Mike Sigman
04-23-2005, 03:34 PM
Jun wrote in the terms FAQ:

The phrase "doumo arigatou gozaimashita" is pretty easy to explain.

It basically just means: "Thank you very much."

In this case, I'd put the definitions down as:

Doumo = thanks
Arigatou = thanks (yes, again. We're a redundant sort)
Gozaimashita = for something that has happened

It's pronounced, more or less,

dou mo ari ga tou go zai ma shi ta

If you're speaking to someone who is your equal or "lower" on the hierarchy, you can just say "arigatou" or "doumo" (although just saying "doumo" is more on the terse side of things (and can be taken as being a bit rude)) to mean, basically, "thanks."

For people "above" you in the hierarchy (e.g. sensei, sempai), you would usually say the full phrase. If you're going to drop something out of the phrase itself, I would probably drop the "doumo" part and just say "arigatou gozaimashita" to someone.

Note: The Japanese "r" is not really a "liquid r" with the tongue curled back (we don't have that Amerrrrican Arrrr (as in "Arr, matey!") in our phonetic system), but is more akin to the "l" sound like in "lollipop." My Japanese "r" is somewhere between an "l" and a "d" -- it's like an "l" but more like a "stop" consonant than a liquid (although it still is a liquid). It's been years since I was in Japan or even have spoken what little Japanese I know, but there's always been a question in my mind about the etymology of "Arigato" ... since the Portuguese were the first real western power ensconced in Japan, is it possible that "Arigato" is somehow related to "Obrigado"? Does anyone know?

Thanks.

Mike Sigman

Mashu
04-23-2005, 03:58 PM
Sounds like quite a stretch that it comes from Portugese.

Arigatou means something like: sorry to have caused you difficulty.

If the Japanese derived it from the Portugese obrigato then they managed to find two kanji that fit amazingly well for the sounds and that fit well with their way a interacting.

My money is on coincidence. :)

Domo hairy gateau...

Kent Enfield
04-23-2005, 08:05 PM
Arigatou (gozaimasu) is the polite form of the adjective arigatai (desu), which means something along the lines of "comendable." Though they don't seem to get used much these days, there are kanji for arigatai. They literally are "have" and "difficulty." The notion is, as was explained to me, that you're noting the other person's putting themselves out for you.

有難う ( 御座います )
有難い ( です )

Mike Sigman
04-23-2005, 08:13 PM
Shame on me. All I had to do was type arigato + obrigado into Google and I got this:

http://www.ling.ed.ac.uk/linguist/issues/12/12-1871.html

Apparently it's a controversy, but a lot of people think "obrigado" may indeed be the father.

Regards,

Mike

James Young
04-23-2005, 09:48 PM
I'm not an expert in Japanese etymology by any means, so I don't know about the origins of arigatou. I never heard about it but I guess the Portuguese connection is possible. Not that it substantiates anything, but in many Japanese jidai geki I do hear a lot of "rei wo iu" or some similar phrase like that in place of "arigatou gozaimasu" in many instances. I'm curious now to know when "arigatou" became the colloquial way of saying thank you.

I do know for a fact that even though in recent times borrowed foreign words are usually written in katakana, in the past that that Japanese foreign borrowed words often had kanji with appropriate meanings attached to them. I believe "tabako" or tobacco is an example of this. In most instances today you see it written in hiragana but any dictionary will show you the kanji as well. Therefore you can't really use the fact that a Japanese word has kanji to determine if it came from original Japanese or was a foreign borrowed word. (Note by the term foreign I am excluding Chinese from that definition because it's rather a given that so many jukugo (or multiple kanji derived words) are Chinese in origin.)

Mashu
04-24-2005, 05:47 PM
Google found this one:

http://www.ling.ed.ac.uk/linguist/issues/12/12-1906.html

I doubt arigatou has anything to do with Portuguese.

Mike Sigman
04-24-2005, 05:55 PM
Google found this one:

http://www.ling.ed.ac.uk/linguist/issues/12/12-1906.html

I doubt arigatou has anything to do with Portuguese. I dunno. Notice that the expert simply shows the existence of word usage surrounding "arigato", but he doesn't say something like, "we have in our hands documents with 'arigato' being used as thank you from pre-date-X". If he'd said that, I'd totally agree. But since the argument is framed around the existence only of related words, I'm troubled. To play it safe, if I thought it was a big issue (which I don't... it's just a curiosity to me), I'd leave it as "debatable". ;)

But thanks a bunch for the contributions.

Mike

Mashu
04-24-2005, 06:05 PM
Jim says no as well:

http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/afaq/arigatou.html

He list some words that actually do originate from Portuguese though:


http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/~jwb/afaq/portugese.html

Mike Sigman
04-24-2005, 06:14 PM
Thanks, Matthew. :)

Mike

seank
04-25-2005, 07:11 AM
Slightly off track here, but can anyone confirm the difference between Gozaimashita and Gozaimasu please.

From what I understand, in the first instance you are thanking someone for something they have done (eg at the end of a class), whereas the latter pertains to something someone is doing or is going to do for you (eg. Thankyou for offering to help me lift this box).

Any clarifications would be greatly appreciated.

Ian Upstone
04-25-2005, 10:36 AM
There's about a billion people out there who know Japanese and English well enough to explain far better than I ever could, but AFAIK, 'mashita (pronounced without the i) is on the end of many 'formal' verbs etc, and indicates past tense, while 'masu (pronounced with almost a silent 'u') indicates present or future tense - so your description sounds pretty accurate to me!

e.g. torimasu - take, torimashita - took/taken.

Peter Goldsbury
04-25-2005, 08:51 PM
For this sort of question you need a large monolingual Japanese dictionary, or some old texts written in Japanese. The earliest use of "arigatai" is in the Manyoushuu and there is a continuous record since them. "Arigatou", or its older variants appear around 1420.

Don_Modesto
04-26-2005, 11:12 AM
For this sort of question you need a large monolingual Japanese dictionary, or some old texts written in Japanese. The earliest use of "arigatai" is in the Manyoushuu and there is a continuous record since them. "Arigatou", or its older variants appear around 1420.YAPPARI!

...and the Portugese appear around 1543, right?

Peter Goldsbury
04-28-2005, 09:12 AM
YAPPARI!

...and the Portugese appear around 1543, right?

Hello Don,

Yes, if Pinto was the earliest European to come to Japan (the question appears to be moot).

As for arigatou, in my opinion, the interesting question is how you get from arigatai to arigatou. I still think there was no Portugese influence and I also think it has little to do with the kanji used.

Best regards,

Kent Enfield
04-28-2005, 02:23 PM
As for arigatou, in my opinion, the interesting question is how you get from arigatai to arigatou.Isn't it just the standard polite form that can be made with any adjectival--not that I've seen polite adjectives in anything but "ritual" phrases. We learned this part of keigo in my Japanese courses just after we learned to form the humble-polite and respectful-polite forms of verbals.

arigatai --> arigatou
medetai --> omedetou
hayai --> ohayou

I can't think of any others off the top of my head, and my text books are at home.

Peter Goldsbury
04-28-2005, 08:09 PM
Isn't it just the standard polite form that can be made with any adjectival--not that I've seen polite adjectives in anything but "ritual" phrases. We learned this part of keigo in my Japanese courses just after we learned to form the humble-polite and respectful-polite forms of verbals.

arigatai --> arigatou
medetai --> omedetou
hayai --> ohayou

I can't think of any others off the top of my head, and my text books are at home.

Of course it is in the grammars of presentday Japanese etc, but I doubt whether these go back to the language spoken when the Manyoushuu was composed. I am struck by the fact that the written evidence of the arigatai form precedes that of the arigatou form by several centuries.